For most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. The Victoria Cross (VC) medal was instituted on 5 February 1856 with awards retroactive to 1854. The first award to a Canadian was in February 1857, to Lt. Alexander DUNN (Charge of the Light Brigade). There have been 1,351 Victoria Crosses and 3 Bars awarded worldwide. During the First World War there were 628 awards to 627 individuals. Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC with Bar, MC, was a double recipient of the award.
Description: A cross pattee, 1.375 inches across, with a dark brown finish. Made from cannons captured from the Russians during the Crimean War.
Obverse: The obverse displays the Royal Crown surmounted by a lion guardant. Below the crown, a scroll bearing the inscription: FOR VALOUR.
Reverse: Raised edges with the date of the act engraved within a raised circle.
Mounting: A straight bar (ornamented with laurels), slotted for the ribbon, has a V-lug below. A small link joins the V-lug to a semi-circular lug on the top of the cross.
Ribbon: The crimson ribbon is 1.5 inches wide and a miniature cross is worn on the ribbon in undress. The ribbon was dark blue for naval recipients until 1918.
Naming: The recipient’s rank, name, and regiment are engraved on the reverse of the mounting bar.
Sources: The Vimy Ridge Project, Cyril Mazansky Collection